A message from the Chair, Ipswich Poetry Committee


Cr David Pahlke

The Ipswich Poetry Feast has become an important part of Ipswich's cultural identity.

The Poetry Feast highlights the skills, talent and creativity of poetry writers both locally and nationally and is designed to nurture and foster involvement in the Literary Arts. The Ipswich Poetry Feast includes a poetry writing competition, a great debate, workshops for young and old, poets' breakfast, and an awards presentation. The competition has been strongly embraced by schools and poetry lovers.

The competition was born of "The Babies of Walloon" story after the release of a book on the subject by Walloon author Judith Baker which captured the sad tale of two young girls who drowned in a waterhole near Walloon late in the 19th Century. The event so touched Henry Lawson, the soon to be famous Australian poet, that in 1891 he wrote the poem.

Ipswich City Council is committed to positioning the Poetry Feast to be one of the leading poetry competitions in Australia. With international interest emerging, the competition will place Ipswich on the international stage via the love of poetry.

Our Patrons


Joy Chambers

I am proud and happy to have been born in Ipswich. My interest in poetry and literature began in childhood. My father Alan instilled in me a deep love of the English word and from him I first learnt of the literary giants like Shakespeare, Shelly, Browning, Hardy, Maugham, and our own home-grown, Paterson, Lawson, Lyndsay Gordon and the like.

I was a pupil at Ipswich Central Girls' School when I won my first Poetry Competition. I was about nine or ten. It was open to all schools in the Ipswich and Brisbane area: this is the poem:


That hair, that hair,
Spread upon the pillow there,
The waves the curls,
They shine like pearls,
With flash of grey by kiss of brown,
It all tumbles down,
A gleaming crown.

I recall the judge saying: "short, sweet and clever". I was very proud and because of that memory, I would like to inspire more of our children to enter our contest.

I am honoured to be International Patron of the Ipswich Poetry Feast, which joins people in mutual endeavour for the betterment of all.

Let's take pride in this outstanding event.

Matt Foley


Matt Foley is a barrister and mediator,  former Arts Minister and Attorney-General of Queensland, former chair of the Queensland Writers Centre, and an occasional scribbler of poetry.

As Arts Minister he initiated “Poetry on the Move”, putting schoolchildren’s poetry on buses and trains around Queensland, established the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, introduced the annual poet-in-residence program, supported the Queensland Poetry Festival and introduced several awards to support emerging and established poets including one named after the great Ipswich poet, Thomas Shapcott.”

Deputy Chair of Ipswich Poetry Feast Committee:  Councillor Kylie Stoneman

Members of the Ipswich Poetry Feast Committee and others within the community who have contributed to the success of the Ipswich Poetry Feast through the generous donation of their time and talents:

Paul Adams
Judith Baker
Tony Caswell
Debbie Chilton
Jim D'Castro

David Gagen
Pamela Jackson
Ashleigh Jones
Isabelle Kearsley
Shirley Stubbs

Colin Simmich
Denleigh Stenzel
Jenny Stubbs
Don Walker
Carolyn Wilson

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